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Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, we caught up with GB sevens flyer, and Hytro Athlete, Dan Norton. Dan is the all-time top try scorer in international Rugby Sevens and already an Olympic Medallist, having picked up the silver at Rio 2016.
As Hytro’s first ambassador, we are delighted to have seen his hard work pay off, with selection for the delayed Tokyo Olympics and we caught up with him just before he boarded the flight to Tokyo:
Hytro: How has your preparation been going for Tokyo?
Dan Norton: Preparations have been going well. Covid has made things really tricky, normally we would be playing in the World Series and then at this time of the year we would be preparing for the games. There’s been no World Series this year, we’ve only played three matches, so that’s made things a little difficult from a game play point of view, but we’ve got 20 guys in camp from 4 nations, and training has been really good and intense.
When you bring 4 nations together it’s always going to be hard, but when you’re aligned by the same goal it makes things so much easier because you all know you’re striving for that gold medal. The weeks have been good, we’ve got better as they’ve gone on and we’ve got used to each other as a group.
When you bring three teams together it’s about bringing that confidence and team camaraderie. We’ve had opportunities to build that organically within training, meetings and team sessions. We’ve been able to grow and learn, we knew that the period is short to get to know each other so we’ve worked hard to grow that, if not then it would make things difficult on the field.
Hytro: What type of training have you been doing to arrive in top condition?
DN: Our training has been pretty standard. When we came together in February and March time it was a lot more aerobic based, we were trying to build capacity to be able to work hard and tolerate training loads, so not only was it aerobic and skill based, but we were also looking at injury prevention as well. We were hitting high reps and looking to put muscle back on, tolerate movement patterns and tolerate loads.
Now we’re more looking at strength, power and speed. It’s probably the part of the season I enjoy more. We’re training four days a week, then two days at home, so using Hytro for recovery in camp for those three to four intense days has been really good, but also at the start of the year using Hytro for strength, helped me get back into the shape I want to be in.
Hytro: How will Tokyo be different to Rio?
DN: Tokyo will be massively different to Rio. Covid is obviously a massive factor for that, not being able to watch other sports or explore the city. But at the same time, it’s been something we’ve known for a while. With Covid being strong in the UK, we’ve been training in a bubble and wearing masks, it’s something we’re used to now. So as much as it’s frustrating, we’re lucky that we’ve been able to play other games.
A year ago we weren’t in this position, the team was being made redundant, but now we’re back in position to go to the Olympic Games and fight for a medal. We’re really looking forward to getting out there and playing rugby.
Hytro: What is the biggest difference between representing GB or England?
DN: The biggest difference is that you’re bringing 4 nations together to represent at one of the biggest sporting events in the world, so being able to be part of that is so special. Team GB capture more fans and a bigger audience, so some people may be sevens fans, but at the Olympics, people are sports fans and support their nation.
The power of 7s being involved in The Olympics is awesome. At the same time I’ve loved my journey with England 7s, and without them we wouldn’t be in this position, they both go hand in hand but playing for GB at the Olympics is so different to playing in the World Series.
Hytro: How will you be using Hytro while competing?
DN: I’ve been using Hytro BFR in training to boost my strength. But when I get to competition it’s about recovery, making sure my body is in top condition. I’ll be using it post sessions at the end of the day, being able to sit on my bed, and relax and just reflect on the day and be able to recover. It’s an amazing tool to have, it’s so easy and simple to use.
Dan’s Olympic journey begins with the first group game against Canada on Monday 26th July, we wish him the best of luck from Team Hytro!